Why do we make a minimum charge?

Mar 15, 2023 | 0 comments

Crikey this is always a contentious issue. For many many years, we did not ask our customers
to pay a minimum charge. But, with hindsight, this seems ridiculous. We run a business and
we train & employ people; we are not a charity and I’m never sure why customers think that
we should give our time, our knowledge, and skills for free. You wouldn’t ask a doctor to do
the same, or a teacher or a cashier, so why a plumber? And I believe if you value your time and experience at nothing, then that’s how you will be treated – like nothing with little respect and very little loyalty. As a customer, if you pay for something then rightly so you should expect value for money.

Also, I believe that a minimum charge is more transparent. You will get no end of tradesmen
who will come out initially for free, but it isn’t free is it? No, they will just charge you more
on a return visit or a quote.

Our minimum charge is for the first hour, if we can get your issue solved in the first hour
with no parts then that is ALL it will cost you. This includes even if we just diagnose the fault.
However, even when the work is “a two-minute job” a minimum charge will apply. Because it’s
not really a two-minute job – it’s 40 years of experience. If, however, you need further work,
then a subsequent quote will be given. We try where possible to sort general issues out over
the telephone to avoid the call-out, but sometimes this is just not possible.
You will also see that we post useful tips on our Facebook page, again hoping you might
solve the issue yourself and save yourself a few pounds.

So why do we have a minimum charge?

Here, are three reasons why:


  • As with any profession we have operating/overhead costs.
  • Insurance: public liability, vehicle insurance, insurance of tools, employer insurance.
  • Tax: road tax, corporate tax, PAYE, national insurance, VAT
  • Transportation: vehicle purchase, vehicle maintenance, fuel
  • Administration: time spent administering supplier accounts, sending customer communications, costs of stationery, job management software, building an office and all the equipment in it, and importantly having people answering the telephone.
  • Tools: purchase and maintenance of tools.
  • Training: initial qualifications and ongoing attendance at courses legally required.
  • Trades body membership fees: for example, “Gas Safe Register”.
  • If we attend a job, spend time getting to and from it, use our skills, tools, training, knowledge, and experience, and don’t make a charge to cover a portion of these overheads we will soon go out of business.

We all like to know what we are in for when buying a product or commissioning a service.
However, for us turning up to view a job for the first time and execute it there and then it’s not
usually possible to work from a standard price list. Equally, if diagnostic or investigative work is
required then a set price cannot be provided, but a minimum charge can be advised.
In summary, applying a minimum charge offers clarity and certainty to a customer and ensures
we remain financially viable.

All professions providing a service make a charge for that service, mountain guides, doctors,
lawyers, fitness instructors, psychologists, car mechanics, and so on.

This service often comes without a guarantee of results; a lawyer can’t guarantee to win your
case, a doctor can’t guarantee to make you better, a fitness instructor can’t guarantee to get
you fit, a mountain guide can’t guarantee to get you to the top of Everest. They will all try their
best and ask to be paid for the service they provide.

We also provide a service and to stay in business we must charge for that service when it is
provided. Even if the time on site is only 10 minutes.

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